Lucas Love

Name: Lucas Love '17
Residence: Rock Hill, South Carolina
Degree: Think College graduate
Occupation: Customer service, Chick-fil-A

Rooming with a Pi Kappa Phi member while a student in Winthrop University's Think College program opened Lucas Love's eyes to the strength of fraternal bonds. The 2017 graduate joined the fraternity and became the first member of a Greek life organization with autism at Winthrop. 

The Think College Program offers education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. The decade-old program creates customized schedules for each student that includes traditional courses, internships, and specialty courses to support student development of specific skill sets. Its focus is to build and strengthen skills in the areas of employment, self-determination, health and nutrition, social networking, and independent living.

Love's college roommate, Blake Marsh, said he remembered Love asking questions about the fraternity experience. “He's an extrovert just like I am, and Lucas wanted strong extroverted friends he could hang with,” said Marsh, a healthcare management major. “He liked the sense of community among all the brothers.”

Love went through the rush process and was accepted into the fraternity in February 2017, three months before his graduation from Think College.

Fellow fraternity member Brandon Dill said Love embodies the values of the fraternity. He has ultimate respect, he is loyal and he upholds the traditions of community service, Dill said. “Lucas is just one of the guys,” he added.

Now the fraternity has welcomed more Think College students.

Love, who graduated from Rock Hill's South Pointe High School, now works on campus at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in the DiGiorgio Campus Center. He arrives early for work and spends time hanging out in the lobby with friends until his shift starts. “I like meeting new people,” Love said. “I joined [the fraternity] because I wanted to get involved on campus.”

While a Think College student, Love lived on campus in Phelps Hall with his Think College mentor, took classes and completed a year-long internship with the cross country team.

His happy and willing demeanor has served him well in the food industry. Love works five days a week on the 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift.

Sodexo retail manager, Will Weeks, said Love never seems to have a bad day. “He is a joy to work with. He's really learned the Chick-fil-A culture,” he said. “He does his job and is very consistent and willing to learn. He has found a home here.”

Love also has inspired those around him. Matthew "Matty" Squires ‘19, a philosophy and religion major from Aiken, first met Love in a physical education class. And thanks to his friendship with Love, Squires worked as a peer mentor for another Think College student and helped guide that student through the college experience. He has since taken a local job coaching individuals with disabilities.

“Lucas genuinely cares about people,” Squires said. “He always puts a smile on my face.”